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An independent charity supporting the Alexander Turnbull Library for over 85 years.
Our aim is to ensure New Zealand’s stories and documentary heritage are available to all, so they can harvest the full potential of these rich collections.

Three main funds are administered by the Alexander Turnbull Library Endowment Trust Board aligned to bequests made to the funds: 

Turnbull Endowment Trust

Established in 1934, The Turnbull Endowment Trust makes sure that New Zealanders can harness the full potential of the rich collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library. The Trust invests donations and from the resulting income, provides grants for research, exhibitions, preservation and other projects outside of core government funded activities.

Past donors to the trust, have left an enduring legacy to the Turnbull Endowment Trust and in turn, the Alexander Turnbull Library. It is they who enable New Zealanders to discover their heritage through the Turnbull Endowment Trust, in perpetuity.


G Shirtcliffe. S P Andrew Ltd :
Portrait negatives. Ref: 1/1-014839-G. 
Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington,
New Zealand. /records/22717995


Sir George, (1862-1941) and Margaret Elise Shirtcliffe made their donation to enable establishment of the Alexander Turnbull Library Endowment Trust.

    Barbara Murison, a lover of books all her life, generously left  a significant bequest to support the Dorothy Neal White Collection of children’s titles, held at the Alexander Turnbull Library.  


Clere, Frederick de Jersey, 1856-1952. 
Clere, Frederick de Jersey, 1856-1 :
Viewfield. [ca 1900]. Ref: A-329-001. 
Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington,
New Zealand. /records/23113043
  David Manly Luke gifted two watercolours by Frederick de Jersey Clere and other significant manuscripts, to the Alexander Turnbull Library Endowment Trust to enrich the research collections, held in perpetuity.  

The Lilburn Trust

The Lilburn Trust was established by the prominent New Zealand composer Douglas Lilburn in 1984. The Lilburn Trust supports a wide range of projects on New Zealand music. It has supplied grants to performers, composers, authors, filmmakers, record companies and oral historians to help promote New Zealand’s musical arts, to advance musical knowledge and appreciation, and to preserve musical archives. It also awards citations to individuals who have given outstanding service to New Zealand music, and funds the annual Lilburn Trust Student Composition and Performance Awards at universities throughout New Zealand.

The Trust’s recent initiatives include the biennial Lilburn Research Fellowship in association with the Alexander Turnbull Library. The aim of the Fellowship is to encourage scholarly research leading to publication on some aspect of New Zealand and music, using the resources of the Archive of New Zealand Music and the wider Library collections. The Fellowship has a value of up to $70,000 and also includes use of an office at the National Library in Wellington.

The annual Lilburn Lecture provides a platform for invited speakers to contribute to the discourse around New Zealand music, encourage debate and present new ideas. It has been held since 2013, with the lectures also being recorded and broadcast by Radio New Zealand.

The Lilburn Trust is administered as a charitable trust under the Alexander Turnbull Library Endowment Trust. Douglas Lilburn (1915-2001) was a valued supporter of the Turnbull Library, helping establish the Archive of New Zealand Music and donating his personal collection into its care.


Dr Michael Brown, ATL Curator Music, is shown holding a copy of Philip Norman’s biography of Douglas Lilburn, published in 2007. The writing of the biography was assisted by a grant from the Friends of the Turnbull Library, while the book’s publication was assisted by the Lilburn Trust. In 2013, Philip Norman was awarded the Lilburn Research Fellowship towards the writing of a history of NZ composition. Dr Brown is accompanied by Margaret Neilsen, a colleague and friend of Douglas Lilburn’s in the VUW Music Department and a founder member of the Music Advisory Committee of the Endowment Trust, which was established to consider grant applications to the Lilburn Trust Fund.

Jack Ilott Oral History Education Fund

This fund was set up through the generosity of philanthropist Jack Ilott 'to promote standards in the use of oral history as a means of documenting New Zealand’s past and contemporary history'. A goal of the Turnbull Endowment Trust is to seek new funds to build on the original gift. 

  1. The purpose of the fund is to promote standards in the use of oral history technique as a means of documenting New Zealand’s past and contemporary history.
  2. The Education Fund is to be used at the discretion of the Trustees to assist with activities which fall within the following categories:
    a. Education in the use of oral history;
    b. Training in oral history techniques, for example recording, interviewing, documentation, storage and preservation of oral history material;
    c. Subsidising of attendance at oral history workshops, seminars, training exercises etc;
    d. Purchase of equipment to be used for approved training purposes;
    e. Any other educational, training or project activities deemed by the Trustees to serve the purpose of the funds.
  3. Applications for assistance are to be made to the Board of Trustees, and are to include a completed questionnaire giving details of the proposed work or training, together with details of the background of the applicant as it relates to the application.
  4. Allocations may be up to $500.

Click to visit the Ilott page or to Donate 

Other funds under management

The Endowment Trust also manages funds for the Friends of the Turnbull Library.

For more information, please go to the page for the Friends of the Turnbull Library.


With thanks to our Sponsors